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Safety of the combination of chloroquine and methylene blue in healthy adult men with G6PD deficiency from rural Burkina Faso

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New drug combinations against falciparum malaria which are both effective and affordable for Sub-Saharan African populations are urgently needed. The combination of the well-known drugs chloroquine (CQ) and methylene blue (MB) is such a promising new regimen. However, there is some concern that MB could cause development of haemolysis in patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, a condition which is prevalent in malaria-endemic regions. Against this background, 74 G6PD-deficient but otherwise healthy adult men were given a 3-day oral regimen of a total of 1500 mg CQ and 780 mg MB in the District Hospital of Nouna in north-western Burkina Faso. Haemolysis did not occur, haemoglobin levels remained stable or even rose in the study participants, and the drug regimen was well tolerated. Therefore, standard dosages of MB appear to be safe in G6PD-deficient African populations with predominantly class III G6PD deficiency.
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Keywords: Africa; G6PD deficiency; malaria; methylene blue

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Nouna Health Research Centre, Nouna, Burkina Faso 2: Institute of Medical Biometrics and Informatics, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg, Germany 3: Department of Internal Medicine VI, Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacoepidemiology, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg, Germany 4: DSM Fine Chemicals, Linz, Austria 5: Department of Tropical Hygiene and Public Health, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg, Germany 6: Biochemistry Center, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg, Germany

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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